The Charge: Connection

Rounding out Brendon Burchard’s five baseline drives in The Charge, we now come to connection.

This one’s been difficult for me to write about, which is why I sort of dropped the ball on getting it out by 10 AM like I try to do with all my blog posts.

If you’ll recall, yesterday I covered caring, and took a diametrically opposed position from Brendon’s – that we don’t have a drive to care for others.

But he’s spot-on with this one, because we most definitely have a drive to be cared for by others. This is one of the most difficult parts of my life, because I’m constantly surrounded by people who simply don’t give a shit.

This is primarily because I don’t normally have people in my life who do the things I do or enjoy the things I enjoy. Because, you know, those things are fucking weird. And people lie to you. They pretend they’re into the stuff you’re into, but when the relationship gets serious, you discover that they were kind of never into that and just wanted to hang out with you.

So when you wanted to sit around watching horror movies all day, they sat there with you even though they hate horror movies. And when you spent days playing Fallout 3, they simply didn’t say anything about all the blood and violence because they figured it was just a phase you’d get over.

But then you get serious, and suddenly it’s an issue. You watch too many horror movies and most of them suck and why don’t we watch more romantic comedies or children’s movies? And those violent video games have got to go because they simply do not belong in a house where children are going to be raised.

So Burchard’s right. We all want to feel connected to the people in our lives, and we always want those connections to be deeper and more meaningful. But this is a private, intimate kind of thing. Brendon recommends four to twelve “growth friends,” people that are really, truly important to you. He also recommends that you define your ideal relationships and deliberately pursue them.

But what I do have to take issue with is the notion of “positive projection,” which is a form of self-delusion. This is what bites me in the arse every time. The disintegration of my marriage came about explicitly because my wife was a lying, cheating, thieving bitch who simply played stupid every time I caught her fucking everything up. And “positive projection” says that you forgive people their faults and have patience.

When your wife spends all your money on bullshit so you’ve got no savings and the end of your contract leaves you dead broke and you have to scramble like hell to make the rent, and you say “what the FUCK happened?” only to be told that she “had no choice” because of collections agencies and bills and traffic tickets and whatever, you’re supposed to say “well, that was a mistake, and you should have done this, but it’s okay and we’ll be fine and PARDON ME WHILE I GO GIVE MYSELF A FUCKING ULCER RACING TO FIND A NEW CONTRACT.”

And then, in September of 2009, she finally admitted that she did this explicitly to prevent me from ever having the money or the time to start my own business again. If we had the ten thousand dollars in the bank I wanted to have by the end of my contract, I was just going to spend most of it trying to build something that nobody could ever build because it’s stupid. So instead, she spent all of it on nothing trying to force me into giving up those ambitions.

And “positive projection” is why this went on for over five years. I made excuses for her, and told her it was okay, and gave her all the time in the world to completely destroy everything. But it wasn’t until she went batshit insane in June of 2009 that I finally said “okay, we had the rent money when it was due, but three days later there’s an eviction notice on our window and the bank account is overdrawn and the bills still haven’t been paid and what the fuck.”

Because in May of 2009, I told her outright: I am not going back to work. I have put off building my business for five years, and I will not do it any more. I had my own business when we met, I have never been happier or more successful than when I was running my own business, and I absolutely detest not being able to watch my children grow up because I am out of the house 12 to 14 hours a day. If you absolutely cannot accept my own business being our primary source of income, then you can go get a job, because I will not do it.

So she got us evicted. At which point I said “this is unacceptable and you shall not control our finances anymore.” That’s when she delivered the ultimatum that if I would just give up this “run my own business” bullshit, she would stop deliberately spending all our money to stop me from doing it. At which point I said “that is even more unacceptable, and you shall not have any access to our finances whatsoever – give me the cheque book and all your bank cards, and when you need money you will ask me for it and I will get you cash.”

So she left me and took the children, then went and lied to the government about what happened so they’d take all my money and give it to her for child support. She literally gave them a figure for my monthly income which resulted in a child support payment that exceeded my unemployment cheques, so they’d take all my money. Except they can’t take more than half of it. Meanwhile, in the “did not think that one through” department, she claimed that she wasn’t getting any of the money and didn’t understand why they were taking it… because, you know, it’s not like the government keeps records or anything. Or like there would eventually be a hearing with full accounting for who got paid what when and by whom.

Or like this was, you know, evil.

All of that happened because I was with someone I loved – and still love, no matter how evil she may have become; the woman I fell in love with is still in there, and still my best friend, and sometimes I can spend entire hours not seeing the evil bitch that has grown around her – and I practiced “positive projection.” Whenever she was less than perfect, I insistently maintained that she was a wonderful person who had simply made a little mistake.

For three years after that, I practiced the same “positive projection” on my girlfriend and my parents and my colleagues and my friends. But you know what? They’re all arseholes. Not one of them gives a leaping shit in a glass Buick about me. All they care about is the mental image in their heads of who I am supposed to be, and when I pursue a different path, they quite deliberately fuck it up to try and make me follow the path they want me to follow.

Oh, but they mean well, because… wait, no they fucking don’t. They are trying to control other people’s lives through violence. Seriously, lying and cheating and stealing are forms of violence. When your friend lies to you, or cheats you, or steals from you, how many times have you said “it was like being punched in the gut” or something similar? That’s because it is. Deep down, you know that these things are violence. And the people who use them to try and control you are just bullies and terrorists.

So “positive projection” is the shittiest fucking advice on the planet. It’s pie in the sky bullshit that only works if you set the line properly and don’t let people fuck you over. But Burchard’s only failure in this is that he’s too fucking young to know how bad it can get, and that’s a good problem to have.

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